Tallahassee, FL - The No. 36 Florida State men’s tennis team (6-7, 1-2) returns home after a three match road trip for a bout against No. 7 USC (12-2). The two teams met earlier this season at USC but FSU lost to the back-to-back NCAA Champions 6-1. The match will take place at the Scott Speicher Tennis Center on Tuesday, March 15 at 4pm.
“I think anytime you play a team a second time, you’re never quite the same playing them again because you know exactly how they are going to play,” said head coach Dwayne Hultquist. “I think this one will be especially difficult given the fact how good they are and how much experience they have.”
Florida State and USC feature a total of six ranked singles players and three ranked doubles pairs. Florida State has senior Vahid Mirzadeh ranked at No. 21 and senior Clint Bowles (Tampa, Fla.) ranked No. 60. In doubles play, Mirzadeh and sophomore Connor Smith are ranked at No. 13. USC has the No. 1 player in the nation in Steve Johnson. At No. 19 is Daniel Nguyen, who Mirzadeh upset earlier in the season. Jaak Paldma is at No. 44 while Ray Sarmiento is No. 56. In doubles Johnson and Sarmiento at No. 48 while Johnson and Nguyen are No. 64.
“I think we’ll have to play a complete match,” continued Hultquist. “They’ve got a lot of good players. Some of the spots that we’re really good at, they are really, really good also. Vahid has had a great year for us, but Steve Johnson is the No. 1 player in the country. We’ll have to play at our best and we’ll need to play inspired and with a lot of enthusiasm and see where it takes us.”
In the match earlier this year, which was the first match ever between the two schools, the ‘Noles won four of the six first sets in singles but only won one of those matches. Mirzadeh (Wellington, Fla.) posted the only point but he and Smith (Tampa, Fla.) won their doubles match as well.
All matches are free. Check back on Seminoles.com for live stats and results.